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‘Reward behaviour’ researcher has her own sweet taste of success

Published:05 August 2016

3MT winners (from top) Belinda Goodwin, Don Menzies and Lisa Hurring are congratulated by Professor Grant Stanley, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research).

Reward behaviour researcher Belinda Goodwin earned a reward of her own as she triumphed in the inaugural CQUniversity Three Minute Thesis contest.

The Gold Coast-based PhD candidate’s win was based on her 3MT presentation on ‘Why gamblers eat more sweets’.

The 3MT is an academic competition that challenges research higher degree candidates to describe their research within three minutes to a general audience. 

Ms Goodwin studies why some people consume substances and products at levels which can put their health and well-being at risk.

It seems there are ‘consumptive co-morbidities’ linking extra consumption of things like gambling, sweets, coffee and Facebook.

“I’ve been exploring the evolutionary and personality explanations of this phenomenon,” she says.

“A key result is that I’ve developed a scale showing how individuals vary in their preference towards synthetic consumer products versus natural forms of reward such as sunsets, smiling faces and helping other people.”

CQUniversity Rockhampton North campus hosted the 3MT contest. Of the 12 contestants, some even travelled from interstate to attend.

* People’s Choice Winner (voted by audience ballot) – Lisa Hurring - Would paramedic mentor training improve the paramedic clinical placement? 

* Runner-Up (voted by the judging panel) – Don Menzies - Can autonomous technology identify the most fertile cows in northern Australia?

* Winner (voted by the judging panel) – Belinda Goodwin - Why gamblers eat more sweets.

Other contestants were:  Maen Zubaydi, Shakir Karim, Leanne Dodd, Tessa Benveniste, Abu Shadat Muhammad Sayem, Davina Taylor, Raj Sandu, Ngare Wilkinson, David Harris.